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Brad Pitt stars in "Ad Astra" (Photo: Francois Duhamel, Twentieth Century Fox)
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It Takes About 3 Days To Get To The Moon. ‘Ad Astra’ Seemed Longer Than That

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – In space, no one can hear you yawn.

In a movie theater, though, that’s a different story.

The Film

“Ad Astra,” Latin for “To the Stars,” tells the story of astronaut Roy McBride (the perpetually stone-faced Brad Pitt) as he’s tasked with tracking down a ship at the edge of the solar system that was piloted by his dad (Tommy Lee Jones) 30 years ago.

McBride has to find the source of cosmic blasts that are threatening life on Earth, and they just might have something to do with his father’s work.

The Review

For a movie that lasted as long as a trip to the moon, I was surprised to discover it clocked in at only two hours.

“Ad Astra” is heavy on imagery; it’s beautiful to look at, and I’d recommend seeing it on IMAX if possible. The gorgeous scenery and magnificent effects are reminiscent of 2013’s “Gravity,” and they impart both a sense of wonder and of fear. We’re taken into the recesses of space and feel the very real horror one might experience being alone and removed from other forms of life by millions of miles.

The rest of the movie, though, left much to be desired.

LISTEN: Andy Farnsworth and Matthew Jacobson talk ‘Ad Astra’ on Fan Effect Podcast

The plot in and of itself is promising, but the execution was disappointing. We’re dragged slowly along as McBride voyages through a universe of cameos (Liv Tyler, Ruth Negga, Donald Sutherland, John Ortiz and Natasha Lyonne), none of whom stick around long enough for us to care about them.

The saddest part about “Ad Astra,” though, is Pitt. I can see how Oscar hopes are high with this part, but the reality is he plays emotionless a little too well. The character of McBride was nothing more than a vacant vessel to move the story forward, and a constant, monotone inner monologue made him even less likable.

One thing, however, annoyed me most of all. There is a moment when Pitt’s character cries in space — and the tear runs down his cheek instead of becoming a droplet and floating away.

Now, I’ve never been to space, let alone cried there, but with “Gravity” on my mind, the lack of floating tears in “Ad Astra” really stuck out to me.

The Takeaway

If you’ve got extra money to see “Ad Astra” on an IMAX screen, do it. You won’t be disappointed by the sheer spectacle of it all. Just make sure you’ve got plenty of caffeine and a whole lot of patience.


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